Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING 34 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 even 47 kilometers away from the airport, es- pecially along the direction of landing f lights. A field test on the University of California, Los Angeles campus also detected a significant in- crease in ambient particulate matter caused by the so-called Sand Fire near Santa Clarita, California, on July 23, 2016. Regular pollution sources such as highways, airports, factories and buildings are places c- Air can target, as well as events such as fires, explosions and accidents. The aim is to "enable dynamic mapping of air pollution in 3-D at a much higher efficiency than a human opera- tor," Ozcan said. ing eight air pollutants, such as volatile organic chemicals, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Hovering roughly 100 meters from the ground, the drone transmitted real-time contaminant and geographic data. Within 30 minutes, the drone reportedly produced a map showing abnormal levels of volatile organic chemicals in the area. Law enforcement officers then lo- cated the source of the pollution and punished three factories that had directly discharged waste gas into the air. In September, Xinhua noted that Dongguan started using drones to assist law enforcement for environmental monitoring in 2016. U.S. researchers also aim to build drones to analyze pollution in cities. Chunrong Jia, an associate professor of environmental health at the University of Memphis, and his colleagues are developing drones to help test the air qual- ity in Memphis, which has struggled with air quality issues. Jia and his colleagues plan to use a Parrot Bebop 2 quad-rotor drone, which is equipped with GPS, a high-definition camera, pressure sensor, ultrasound sensor, and WiFi com- munications. They also plan to add ozone, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter sen- sors from England-based firm Alphasense and a temperature and humidity sensor from Finland-based firm Vaisala. They plan to test their drone near two air monitoring stations in Memphis to compare results. The research team will focus on the air quality at varying distances from two highly congested roads in Memphis. They noted the transportation sector is the largest emitter of nitrogen oxide in the United States, as well as a major source of particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. Jia and his colleagues will also work to ad- dress environmental disasters, when local com- munities and healthcare providers will want to rapidly know what might be in the air, how high contaminant levels are, and what to do to protect people's health. They plan to deploy the " WE THOUGHT THIS VERY LIGHT-WEIGHT AND VERSATILE MICROSCOPE PLATFORM WOULD BE A GOOD FIT AS A PAYLOAD FOR A DRONE TO PERFORM THREE-DIMENSIONAL AIR QUALITY MONITORING." Aydogan Ozcan, professor, University of California, Los Angeles Currently, the image resolution of c-Air is limited to about 1.74 microns. The research- ers noted they could achieve resolutions of less than 0.5 microns with better CMOS sensors in the future. Ozcan also hopes to cut the weight of c-Air "by at least half and make it fit into a smaller drone." Urban Air Quality Researchers worldwide are using drones to detect air pollution. For instance, after a vil- lager reported a foul odor in Zhancui in south China's Guangdong province, environmental authorities in Dongguan City, a leading pro- duction center for smartphones and sweat- ers, dispatched a drone equipped with several high-precision sensors, according to Xinhua, China's official press agency. The Chinese drone, co - developed by Shenzhen-based Scif lyTech and Guangdong IntelFlight UAV Ltd., was capable of detect- Photo courtesy of UAF Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (ACUASI).

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